5 Ways to Dry out a Wet Basement
Basements are notorious for being damp and musty, especially in places like New York, where there’s lots of moisture year-round. While a damp basement might seem “normal,” it can harbor a lot of issues for both your home and your family.
Beyond getting rid of the unpleasant odors caused by a wet basement, taking steps to dry it out for good will reduce the risk of mold, or damage to walls, flooring and your belongings. The key to drying out a basement is locating the underlying causes.
Below is a list of the most common culprits for basement moisture and solutions that you can start using immediately.
#1 Look for Leaks
If you notice standing water in the basement, be sure to check all plumbing fixtures and pipes. Over time, plumbing mechanisms can wear out from usage or break down from rust and cause small leaks around fittings or minute pinholes in the pipes. By the same token, if basement walls or flooring where plumbing pipes lead into the house weren’t properly sealed, water will eventually find its way through these cracks and crevices. Small repairs can be made using caulk or waterproof hydraulic cement. However, if the leaks are coming directly from your plumbing, you may need to contact a professional.
#2 Check the Gutter Extensions
A complete gutter system will be equipped with downspouts and piping that directs rainwater several feet from the house. If you notice water spots on basement walls or even flooded floors after a heavy rain, it’s likely the piping isn’t routed far enough from the foundation of the house. The easiest solution is to invest in plastic piping that attaches to the downspout or to existing piping to divert water further away. Additionally, many gutter systems are buried underground and while installation of these drain pipes incur more upfront costs, they are designed to move a lot of water runoff and eliminate obstacles during lawn maintenance.
#3 Reinforce the Foundation
At the time a house is built, it is strategically placed on an area of soil that gradually slopes downward several inches. This is referred to as the foundation crown. However, over time, this foundation will settle and the surrounding soil can erode away, which can result in water running towards your house rather than away from it. Fortunately, you can rebuild the crown with a special soil mixture that deters water saturation. Usually a single cubic yard is more than enough to restore the 6” slope around a house and the cost compared to the benefit is well worth it.
#5 Redesign Landscaping
Once you’ve rebuilt the crown of your home’s foundation, it is recommended that you assess the area to prevent new problems from arising. For instance, if the newly added dirt touches the siding or fascia of the house, it can create an inviting spot for pests to make a new home. This also has the potential to trap moisture and lead to rotting wood, termites, mildew, or mold.
By creating a shallow ditch, such risks are greatly reduced by improving air flow, directing water away from the house, and making it less attractive to bugs. On the other hand, should your project be on a larger scale, there’s always the option to hire a professional landscaper.
Bottom line, dealing with moisture in the basement should be a top priority. If you’re considering the purchase of a new home that has a basement or have concerns about your existing home, consult your local home inspector. At >>>>> our team is highly trained to identify the issues, large and small and can offer advice on the next steps to take.
#5 Add Waterproofing Material to Basement Walls
For basement walls that have developed cracks due to settling, there are special waterproofing paints that work well for minor moisture issues. However, if the problem is due to poor excavation, it may be necessary to resort to a major excavation of the land surrounding the house. Although this is an expensive undertaking, it is a long-term solution for drainage issues and will help protect your home for many years.
The Author Adam Clark is the owner and operator of Shield Guard Home Inspections. Adam Clark is a local Home Inspector located in Saratoga NY that has performed over 6000 Inspections
Phone: (518) 720-7152